Experiential Learning

Senior Capstone

Among the most valuable facets of the Department of Sport Management is its connection with the sport industry, which plays out in numerous ways, including Senior Capstone internships, visiting lecturers and guest speakers. As part of their degree requirements, students complete a 12-credit Senior Capstone to gain valuable hands-on experience in the sport industry before graduating from SU.

Since the Capstone is the culmination of one’s academic experience, the planning process begins during a student’s freshman year. The process concludes with the full-semester experience with a specific sport entity typically in a location outside of Syracuse.

Some of the organizations where our students completed their Capstone experience included the U.S. Olympic Committee, New England Patriots, Tampa Bay Buccaneers, New York Giants, Indianapolis Colts, Tampa Bay Rays, National Baseball Hall of Fame, IMG, Octagon Worldwide, ESPN, YES Network, International Tennis Hall of Fame, PGA Golf Tour, ASM Sports, Evolution Media, Kansas City Chiefs, Brooklyn Nets, NFL Players Association, New York Red Bulls, University of Florida Athletics, Super Bowl 50 Host Committee, Adidas Germany, Basketball Travelers Inc./Paradise Jam, Ephesus Lighting, Boston Celtics, UNICEF, and Under Armour, as well as many others in the United States and Abroad.

The Capstone Experience requires the student to work with a sport-related organization for a minimum of 540 hours over the course of one semester, gaining experience in areas such as sales, marketing, finance, event management, administration, communication, law, etc. The student will gain hands-on experience in a variety of areas under the supervision of qualified sport industry practitioners and executives.

Capstone opportunities are posted on the Sport Management Careers website. Log in with your SU ID and password. Find it here: http://spmcareers.syr.edu/

Procedures and RequirementsDocuments and FormsFinancial AssistanceStudent Experiences

Procedures and Requirements

Capstone Eligibility:

  1. Complete all 200- and 300-level SPM core courses as outlined on Student Check Sheet and undergraduate catalog
  2. Complete a minimum of one (1) 400-level SPM core course (SPM 415 or SPM 444).
  3. Attain senior academic standing by completing a minimum of 84 credit hours earned toward graduation
  4. Have no more than 18 credits remaining before graduation (excluding the 12 Capstone credits)
  5. Complete SPM 455 Senior Capstone Experience during one of the final two semesters
  6. It is recommended that you complete at least two (2) internships/experiential opportunities outside the classroom before your Capstone

NOTE: Students will not be allowed to enroll in additional classes while completing their Capstone. The Capstone is to be taken as a stand-alone 12-credit semester and it is the student’s responsibility to work with their advisor to plan their academic coursework accordingly.

Freshman year:

  • Attend Senior Capstone Presentation (highly recommended)
  • Develop a resume and cover letter (SPM 201)
  • Explore interests and general internship sites
  • Network with Syracuse University alumni in the sports industry
  • Obtain a summer internship or volunteer at sport events

Sophomore year:

  • Complete SPM 201 – Professional Development in Sport
  • Update resume and cover letter
  • Expand interests and participate in sport-related internships on campus or in the Syracuse community during the academic year
  • Obtain a summer internship or volunteer at sport events

Junior year:

  • Attend a Capstone Information Session
  • Meet with your assigned SPM Internship Coordinator
  • Work as an intern on-campus or in the Syracuse community during the academic year
  • Obtain a summer internship or volunteer at sport events
  • Submit Junior Year Paperwork by December 1st
    • Application Parts A & B
    • Resume and Cover Letter
    • Capstone Bio Sheet (to be submitted electronically to spmcapstone@syr.edu)

Note: If a student does not submit their Junior Year Paperwork by December 1, an administrative registration hold will be placed on MySlice until all paperwork has been received and approved.

Required forms are listed under the Documents and Forms tab.

Semester Prior to your Senior Capstone Experience:

  1. Research, find, and obtain a Capstone that matches your career goals. It is the student’s responsibility to find housing while on the Senior Capstone experience.
  2. Attend a mandatory Senior Capstone Experience meeting.
  3. Request a Confirmation Letter from your Site Supervisor on company letterhead. Letter must include a start date, end date, number of hours you will be working per week (or that you complete the minimum 540 required hours) and your general responsibilities.
  4. Submit each of the following Senior Capstone Experience forms via email to spmcapstone@syr.edu. Each form must be completed and can be returned electronically. See forms.
    • Confirmation letter on company letterhead (must include: start date, end date, the hours you will work per week OR that you will complete the minimum 540, and your responsibilities)
    • Senior Capstone Experience Learning Agreement (must be typed, printed and then signed – typed signatures will not be accepted)
    • Student information form (typed)
    • Draft SMART goals (typed)

Once you have completed all the steps listed above, and the forms have been approved, you will be given permission to register for SPM 455 Senior Capstone Experience.

Note: No student will be eligible to register for SPM 455 after the Add Deadline (One week after classes begin).

Senior Capstone Financial Assistance

Senior Capstone financial assistance is awarded to Sport Management students to enable them to undertake Senior Capstones that would not be possible without financial help. The awards range from $500 to $1,000 and are offered to selected eligible students during each of the Capstone semesters.

Deadlines are May 1st for summer, August 15th for fall, and December 15th for spring. Students interested in applying for financial assistance should first review the criteria established. To apply, complete the application form here: Capstone Award Application. Please feel free to include additional documentation you feel would assist the review committee. All of these materials should be emailed to spmcapstone@syr.edu prior to award deadlines. Questions can be directed to Sport Management internship placement coordinator Francesco Riverso at friverso@syr.edu or 315-443-5670.

Students Share Their Experiences

Marcos Luna

SPM ’17
Tiger Woods Foundation

“During the Spring of 2017, I had the privilege of completing my Senior Capstone with the Tiger Woods Foundation as a special event and volunteer intern. I worked mostly on the foundation’s PGA tournament, the Genesis Open, in Los Angeles, Calif. I was the main point of contact for more than 900 volunteers and helped coordinate special events we hosted during the tournament, including a collegiate tournament, a professional-amateur tournament and an event for underserved youth within the Los Angeles area called Tee Off for Youth. My favorite event was the professional-amateur tournament. Many of the amateurs were celebrities, including Johnny Manziel, Don Cheadle and Niall Horan. I also met Tiger Woods, Dustin Johnson and Bubba Watson. I acted as the liaison between golfers and scorekeepers, and was in constant communication with the celebrities and professionals throughout the events. I also enjoyed coordinating the Tee Off for Youth initiative. We worked with youth groups within the Los Angeles area to bring more than 1,000 kids to the Genesis Open, where they were each given a private golf lesson, a private viewing area as well as souvenirs from the foundation. My experience with the Tiger Woods Foundation has taught me how intricate and complex the world of events can be. There are many moving parts and nothing truly goes as planned, so you have to adjust and work under pressure to succeed. The internship has prepared me for a career in the sport industry and I am grateful to the Tiger Woods Foundation for the experience.”

Zach McDonald

SPM ’17
Boston Celtics

“During the Spring 2017 semester, I had the privilege of completing my capstone with the Boston Celtics as their community engagement intern. Aside from their success on the basketball court, the Celtics are active in the community and I was lucky to be a part of their work. My responsibilities revolved around community programs, donations and fundraising for the Boston Celtics Shamrock Foundation. The lifeblood of the department was community program, which benefitted several causes, including military, health and wellness, youth, and education. Working with 10 to 15 different programs, we ran more than 50 community events in my four months with the organization. I was fortunate to work alongside Celtics’ players Isaiah Thomas, Avery Bradley, and Marcus Smart. The biggest takeaway from working these events is the impact it had on those involved. Working closely with the programs gave me a sense of purpose. I knew my work provided tremendous value to the community. This experience with the Boston Celtics changed my whole perspective on the sports industry. It showed me that community work is my true passion. As I step into the real world, I hope to use sports as a platform to help others and make a difference in the community.”

Rebecca Pongetti

SPM ’17
Under Armour Canada

“During the Spring 2017 semester, I had the privilege of completing my Senior Capstone at Under Armour Canada in Toronto. Under Armour is the originator of performance apparel, footwear and equipment. With an underdog mentality, Under Armour has risen to one of the most prestigious sporting brands across the globe. My area of focus was in brand marketing while also working on retail marketing, sports marketing and events. I assisted with events, execution of the 2017 marketing category plans and calendars, execution of paid media buys, activation for in-flight campaigns, assisting the Global Football category in increasing its footprint and athlete roster in Canada, and developing the Canadian Influencer Program. The organizational culture within Under Armour is passionate, community oriented, and empowering. The positive and cohesive environment within the company gave me the tools and confidence to take the lead in multiple tasks and projects. Being involved in the fast-paced environment of the sports industry makes each day unpredictable and exciting. I experienced all facets of the sport industry within Under Armour, which has allowed me to grow as a professional and individual. I am extremely lucky to have completed my Capstone at such a fantastic organization. Upon graduating from Syracuse University, I returned to Under Armour Canada to continue my role in the Marketing Department with a focus in brand marketing and events. I believe this is the perfect organization to begin my professional career in the sports industry as it has allowed me to take my passion for sport off the field.”

Jordan Rice

SPM ’17
NCAA

“I completed my Senior Capstone with the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) in Indianapolis, Ind., as the championships extern for women’s basketball. While working out of the NCAA’s national offices, I completed marketing roles and had the honor of leading two new initiatives that were facilitated onsite at the 2017 Division I Women’s Final Four in Dallas. One initiative, The Rewards Program, gave fans the opportunity to earn points for VIP experiences at the Women’s Final Four. I acted as the point person for the creation of the program as well as the facilitation onside. I also had the privilege of working on the Kay Yow Cancer Fund series of mini-basketball games that took place during Women’s Final Four weekend, to help raise money and awareness for the fund. While my whole experience was more rewarding than imaginable, the best feeling was taking what I created in the office onsite to the Final Four. I learned from some of the top executives in college athletics and truly saw what it takes to put on an event of that caliber. I have always dreamed about having a career in sports, and thanks to the Sport Management program’s opportunities and having personnel dedicated to students’ success, I am on the right path to obtaining that dream. The NCAA allowed me to find my place in sports and build connections to help me achieve the next goal in my career. I am proud to say I have accepted a position as a championships assistant at the Big East Conference. If someone ever asks you to go across the country to work with leaders in sports – I say go for it!”

Anthony Mejia

SPM ’16
Under Armour

Anthony Mejia Capstone Photo“During the Spring 2016 semester, I completed my Senior Capstone at Under Armour on the Collegiate Sports Marketing team at the company’s headquarters in Baltimore, Maryland. I assisted the 10-person team, including the director, Syracuse University graduate Nick Carparelli Jr. I assisted managers and directors with daily tasks associated with servicing Under Armour’s 16 Tier-1 college programs.  My Capstone allowed me to make connections and gain knowledge about a wide variety of roles in departments such as marketing, product development, data entry, and creative design. The networking opportunities at Under Armour ultimately led to me being offered a full-time position as the Associate Product Line Manager of Licensed League Product. In this position, I help create the products and assortments for Under Armour’s collegiate and professional licensees, including Major League Baseball, National Football League and National Basketball Association. I could not imagine a better Capstone opportunity. Not only was I able to network and gain invaluable experience, but also begin my career in a position I love and am passionate about.”

Hannah Howe-Lubowich

SPM ’16
U.S. Fund for UNICEF

Hannah Howe Lubowich photo“I had the honor and privilege of interning at the U.S. Fund for UNICEF during the Spring 2016 semester. This non-profit organization supports the global UNICEF mission of protecting the world’s most vulnerable children. At the New York City headquarters, I immersed myself in the work of two departments: Sports Partnerships and Kid Power. Having the opportunity to see the inner workings of these departments allowed me to learn about multiple sides of the non-profit, sport for development world. UNICEF Kid Power is an initiative that gives kids the power to save lives. This program encourages kids to become physically active, which unlocks points that convert to funding for therapeutic food packets for malnourished children throughout the world. I visited schools in New York City, Boston and Syracuse, participated in Kid Power donor school events, and volunteered at the 2016 Annual Meeting. My greatest accomplishment at the U.S. Fund for UNICEF was finding my sense of purpose in the field of sport for development. My years as a Sport Management major, culminating with my incredible Capstone experience, unlocked doors that I never knew existed. As I embark on the next chapter of my life, I hope to find ways to inspire and help others through the power of sports.”

Kathryn Petkevich

SPM ‘16
San Francisco Bay Area Super Bowl 50 Host Committee

Petkevich capstone photo 1_ (from left) Stephanie Martin_Kathryn Petkevich_ Ricky Watters_Sarah Hawkins and Michelle Villanueva“I had the privilege of working for the San Francisco Bay Area Super Bowl 50 Host Committee as a Hospitality Associate in the Hospitality and Events department from June 2015 to February 2016. My main focus was celebrity and talent engagement and VIP gifting. I booked and managed over 65 current and former NFL players for game week lead-up events, game-week and game-day events, as well as managed gifting orders for our VIP clients. I was fortunate to have so much responsibility. I did not know what to expect when I secured a Capstone opportunity 3,000 miles from the Syracuse University campus. I never expected to be leading a call with our biggest partner or working with budgets. One of the best parts was that big-name players like Steve Young, Matt Hasselbeck and Lynn Swann listened to me, a 22-year-old associate, and trusted what I was doing. This opportunity was truly once in a lifetime. It is incredible how much work goes into one event. We had sleepless nights and stressful days, but it was all incredibly worth it. I had the chance to learn from the best in the industry and the friendships I made will last a lifetime.”

Dean Hirschberg

SPM ’16
Kansas City Chiefs

Dean Hirschberg photo“During the 2015 fall semester, I was fortunate to complete my Senior Capstone with the Kansas City Chiefs as a community outreach intern in Kansas City, Missouri.  My responsibilities included managing initiatives to raise funds and awareness for multiple charities throughout the Kansas City area and coordinating with current and former players on weekly events and player appearances. A memorable event was the Super Bowl I and IV Reunion/Alumni Weekend, where I met Jan Stenerud, Len Dawson, Bobby Bell and Will Shields. I also worked as the lead person on the Chiefs’ Punt, Pass and Kick Initiative, which is part of the NFL Play60 campaign. Following the success of this initiative, I was awarded November’s Intern of the Month. My Capstone experience taught me the impact that community outreach has on a city, regardless the size. I watched how the involvement of players in local events brought people together throughout the entire season. The Kansas City Chiefs organization embodies its mission by demonstrating strong character throughout, uniting the community through events and sponsors, inspiring fans and honoring practices and traditions.”

Alyssa Wood

SPM ’15
Allstate

AlyssaWood“As a member of the Sport Sponsorship team, I worked primarily on Allstate’s NCAA Men’s Final Four sponsorship property. I traveled to the 2015 Men’s Final Four in Indianapolis to see all of the projects I worked on come to life, including the on-site activations at Final Four Fan Fest, a hospitality program that hosted over 100 Allstate agents; as well as the television and online advertising efforts around the NCAA Tournament. I also worked with basketball personalities and celebrities Dick Vitale, Grant Hill, and Bill Raftery, who participated in Allstate hospitality efforts throughout the weekend. My experience with Allstate helped me to realize my passion for sponsorships and brand activations at large-scale events. The real-world experience I gained at Allstate led to a full-time job in sponsorship marketing at Team Epic. I could not be happier with my experience at Allstate and I am looking forward to continuing down this career path.”

Dan Gorman

SPM ’15
Kansas City Chiefs’

DanGorman“My primary responsibilities focused on the business development of corporate partnerships, though I gained experience in brainstorming sessions to develop a keen understanding of the entire process. My direct responsibilities included assisting in the creation of new business leads; supporting sales managers and coordinators throughout the sales cycle, including meeting prep; researching the sports industry for sales and promotional trends and new partnership opportunities; and stadium and facility meeting set-ups. My four months with the Kansas City Chiefs enabled me to see myself working in partnership strategy and business development as a career. Learning about different industries is truly exciting, and makes every partnership unique.”

Meghan Baumer

SPM ’15
Syracuse University Athletic Communications Department

MeghanBaumer“I served as the assistant media coordinator for the 2015 NCAA Men’s Basketball East Regional, and the assistant editor for the 2015 Syracuse football media guide, Additionally, I worked on projects involving statistics, photos, and archival information. With Syracuse hosting the 2015 NCAA Men’s East Regional, I received invaluable first-hand knowledge from my supervisor and media coordinator for the tournament, Sue Edson. I gained exceptional experience in dealing with the media, and had numerous opportunities to showcase my written communications and design skills. I was fortunate to work with a staff that mentored me and led to many opportunities to grow and learn in the field of sports information and public relations. I am proud to say that my Senior Capstone ultimately led to a full-time job as an athletic communications assistant with the Syracuse Athletic Communications Department.”

Austin Stevenson

SPM ’15
Tony & Alicia Gwynn Foundation

AustinStevenson“I was exposed to the variety of business ventures with which the Gwynn family is involved, including a beer partnership (.394 Pale Ale), Camp 19 Baseball, a series of Gwynn BBQ sauces and seasonings, and the Gwynn Gourmet Food Truck. These ventures had never been combined to cross promote each other. Identifying this opportunity led to me developing a new, central brand and an integrated marketing system. From this, I created Gwynndustries, Inc., as the parent company and brand through which all Gwynn-related business activities will operate. I am now working as the CEO of Gwynndustries. I would not trade my experience with the Tony & Alicia Gwynn Foundation and Gwynndustries, Inc., for any other. I am proud to have had my vision of this company come to fruition, and have the opportunity to continue working for Gwynndustries, Inc., to grow its brand and market outreach.”

Mari Lee

SPM’ 14
Ultimate Fighting Championships (UFC)

MariLee“While it was difficult to be away from campus and all of my friends back in Syracuse, I learned more than I ever could have imagined during my Capstone. I learned about the sport industry as well as myself. I was able to take on the same responsibilities as full-time employees, which made this experience so different from any other internship I’ve had. Because of this amazing opportunity I had with the UFC, I realized that my dream career would be with the UFC. I put in the hard work and dedication and was ultimately offered a full-time position as the Event Development Coordinator for the UFC.”

Jack Wentzell

SPM ’14
Boston Red Sox

JackWentzell“I completed my Capstone with the Boston Red Sox in the team’s Florida Business Operations department as an operations intern at JetBlue Park, the spring training home and year-round training facility for the team. As someone who grew up within 35 miles of Boston, working for this organization was a dream come true. I played a significant role in ensuring the facility’s cleanliness and overall presentation were top-notch for all events. I also learned to live on my own in an unfamiliar location. I’ll never forget introducing myself to Hall of Famer Jim Rice or exchanging head nods with 2013 World Series MVP David Ortiz. Special moments such as these were commonplace during the seven weeks of spring training, and it was an opportunity I’ll always cherish.”